Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Saga Continues

According to the Spanish newspaper AS, Ronaldo has claimed he wants to be allowed to go to Madrid and he won't negotiate any other arrangement than that. It is an interesting turn of events and a bad day to be a United fan. Of course I am wary of taking any comments from any Spanish paper seriously, but if these quotes are true, what changed?

It was only 2 weeks ago, Fergie and Ronaldo meet in Portugal. After the meeting it seemed clear that Ronaldo will be a Red Devil the next season, this is apparently not what the Portuguese midfielder wanted. His remarks are simple and are sharp. He said, "Everything is fine. Next week I will return to England and tell them that my only desire is to play for Real Madrid and that I will not negotiate."

Ronaldo has finally become a man, ladies and gentleman. I say this with concept in mind, he finally took a stand and stopped playing both sides. Just because he has become a man and stopped acting like a small child, his decision is baffling. It doesn't seem to me, that joining Madrid will further his career. United are a bigger team than Madrid, financial and in a study by a University. We have world class young talent and the ability to go on and win more major trophies. Ronaldo is lured by the old power of Europe, an old power that very well could become the new power with the acquisition of Ronaldo.

I believe this is a blessing in disguise for United. We will not get full value because of Ronaldo's comments. He obviously does not want to play for United anymore and his "only desire" is to play for Madrid. This gives Madrid the advantage in negotiations. This is bad news for United, but won't necessarily mean we won't see a huge price for the winger. If United sell, than they well sell high, if we sell Ronaldo, we will bring in a replacement and other to fill the void left by him.

United is bigger than one player, and I can honestly say I was disgusted with the fact Ronaldo would put on a United jersey again. He simply doesn't deserve to play for this club, to me this club is different than other clubs. You have to earn the right to play for us, and earn the right to be a fan favorite. once you become a fan favorite, you stay that way. No matter if you drop in form, case and point Diego Forlan. He couldn't buy a goal, but his work ethic, and big goals against Liverpool made him a fan favorite. Many where sad to see Diego leave United and go to Spain. Ronaldo seemed to finally grow fully on the fans this season, he scores more goals than arguable our greatest United player, George Best, he won the champions league, the EPL twice, and now he wants to leave. He finally admits he wants to leave in the last day of July, giving United only 31 days to find a replacement and other players.

In the mean time he jerks the fans around of both clubs and plays this its in God's hands. It seems he is taking it out of God's hands and putting it into his own. But that doesn't surprise me because he thinks he is God. I am glad to see him leave the club if he does in fact leave, I can only hope we find the necessary talent to fill the void left by Ronaldo.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kaizer Chiefs vs. Manchester United, Again. United win Vodacom Challenge.

Add another trophy to the cabinet as United walked away with the Vodacom trophy after beating Kaizer Chiefs in Johannesburg, South Africa. United beat the South African club 4-0 in a good performance all around today. The game was played in good conditions with the sun shinning and the temperature in the 70’s.

The starting lineup had a mix of young with experience with Kuszczak in goal, with Simpson, Cathcart, Vidic, and O’Shea in front of him. Fletcher took the right midfield role, with the youngster signed in January, Rodrigo Possebon, playing next to him in the center of midfield. Possebon came from Sporting Club in Brazil and played for the first team in the first time. Carrick and Lee Martin finished off the midfield. Giggs played a dropped back role behind Wayne Rooney who played up front. The game started well as United moved the ball around the pitch and began to threaten after 25 minutes.

The break through came close to half time in the 40th minute. Lee Martin crossed from the left side to Ryan Giggs who a first time volleys to the far side top corner. Darren Fletcher made a good run and attempted to make contact but was unable and Ryan Giggs came into the empty space and volleyed home.

The second half brought two changes for Manchester United. Chris Eagles came on for Lee Martin and a young promising midfielder Tom Cleverley came on for Rodrigo Possebon. This was Cleverley’s first outing with the first team.

United were rewarded for there early dominance in the second half in the 56th minute. Danny Simpson was able to play Wayne Rooney behind the defense near center field. Wayne Rooney collected the pass and coolly placed his shot between the out rushing Kaizer Chief keeper.

United would not have to wait long for there third goal of the day when in the 60th minute Wayne Rooney calmly headed down a cross from Danny Simpson, to the 18 year old Tom Cleverley who cleverly placed a first time volley low past the keeper near side. Danny Simpson provided a good cross and Wayne Rooney displayed great vision to place his head on Cleverley’s left foot.

The third goal brought three changes for United. As Johnny Evans replaced Nemenja Vidic, Paul Scholes came on for Carrick, and Darren Gibson came on for Fletcher. Paul Scoles instantly picked up the pace of the game, and displayed some real class when on the ball. He never misplaced a pass and was fantastic in the final minutes. Vidic played well and was never beaten in a one on one situation.

Soon after Tevez replaced Rooney and Frazier Campbell replaced Ryan Giggs. Both Rooney and Giggs had good games, as Rooney’s frustration over the past games should be lifted after a good performance. Giggs class was evident throughout and he finished a difficult volley with pinpoint accuracy.

United had to wait till the 86th minute for there fourth goal. After a clearance by Kaizer Chief Chris Eagle was able to play a quick ball over the top that landed on Tevez’s foot that beat the offside trap. Tevez miss controlled the pass but it landed perfectly to Fraizer Campbell who scuffed a shot into the far corner.

The game finished with a 4-0 win for Manchester United who took home the exotic Vodacom Challenge trophy. United capped off a good trip to South Africa with a solid performance. Quality displays by Vidic, Rooney, Tevez, and Giggs gives United fans confidence moving forward. Cleverley will be delighted with his first goal for the United first team. This is a quality prospect in the United youth system and he could have a great career at United. Possebon, Cleverley, and Cathcart will all be satisfied with the long trip they made on Thursday after being part of a good performance for the squad. Possebon played well and should be happy wish his outing. Cathcart was never beat but it wasn’t a performance of a lifetime.

In other news:
Carlos Tevez seems close to being permanently transferred to Manchester United. United are reported to pay a British record fee of 70 million to Kia Joorabchian who owns the MSI, a sports investment firm, that owns the rights to Tevez. The complicated loan deal will be nice to get rid of and it will make an amazing player a permanent Red Devil.

The trip to South Africa was also a charity event as much of ticket proceeds will go to a local charity that works in eye cataract surgery. United will match the amount raised.

Players also mingled with the South Africans and visited local charities. Mikael Sylvestre meet with HIV sufferers during a United for UNIFCEF event.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Round Up: Kaizer Chiefs vs Manchester United

The pre-season friendly’s continued today as Manchester United took on Kaizer Chiefs in Cape Town, South Africa. The conditions were sunny with the temperature around 75° F during the match. The game was mostly uneventful and was all about fitness today. The game started with both teams taking a relaxed atmosphere but this soon changed. Kaizer Chiefs forward got into the area to be tripped up in the box by Gary Neville who started the match. The penalty was calmly finished by the Kaizer Chief center back, Jonathan Quartey, sending Thomas Kuszczak the wrong way in the 37th minute. Kuszczak didn’t have much else to do in the entire match besides pick the ball out of the net.

The second half brought United’s equalizer as Tevez broke free on the left, provided a beautiful cross, which Chris Eagles finished with his head at the far post. Good ball movement provided Tevez with the space he needed and two runs to the near post gave Eagles the room at the back post for the goal.

Substitutes began to come in with Simpson, Evans, Fraiser, and Gibson. Tevez, Giggs, Scholes, and Vidic got a full 90 minutes which sums up the whole reason for the lengthy pre-season schedule. No great performances on the day but two things did catch my attention.

The good thing I noticed was how important Tevez is to our team. He gives United a whole new aspect that we might not have had before. His commitment to winning and the amount of work he does on the field is incredible. No matter who the opponent is if it’s a small club like Kaizer Chiefs or Chelsea in the Champions League it always seems that he gives his full effort every game. His work takes over and he always looks the better player. His quality may not always be full view but his work always makes up for it. It is why he is able to score the late goals he does, and he has scored some importantly late goals for us since he came to United last summer.

The disappointing thing is watching Shrek. Wayne Rooney seems to live up to that nickname way too much. His over reactions always get him in trouble and his temper is one to write home about it. Today in a simple friendly game, where your touch is bound to let you down once or twice, he over reacted when he lost a ball and kicked the Kaizer Chief who had hassled him down. This temper is a good thing in a way, but has to be harnessed in a way that will help the team. When he does things like this it makes you wonder when Wayne is going to truly live up to his potential. I hope this may be an over reaction but is temper got him in trouble at the World Cup, got him in trouble countless times in the EPL, and today earned him a yellow in a pre-season friendly.

I am sure Fergie will have a talking with him and Rooney is probably just frustrated. The frustration most likely stems from a long break, in which a lot has happened to him. He got married, went on honeymoon, and most notable missed out on the Euro’s, which must have frustrated him even further. He wants things to click and they often don’t click as quickly as one would like. I am sure with this lengthy pre-season he will find his form.

The pre-season just kicked off and some good football has been played in small pieces through out the match. Things will continue to get better as the players catch back up to the speed of the game.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Real Madrid the best of all Time?

Real Madrid are a giant club, possible the biggest in the world. They have won every major trophy many times over with an impressive 9 European Champions Cups (Champions League.) No one can say that any other club is bigger, well, besides a few. Barcelona has grown since Ronaldinho came to the team, AC Milan have to be considered, and of course I would say United who have the highest grossing merchandise sales and are rated above Madrid in a couple of recent ratings. With that said are they the best club of all time?

Madrid haven't won the Champions League since the 2001-2002 season when they beat Bayer Leverkusen with a Zidane volley I don't think any soccer fan could forget. Madrid won 5 of their European Championships in the FIRST FIVE YEARS OF THE COMPETITION (1955-1960). They had a great striker by Alfredo Di Stefano who was absolutely unbelievable but teams at that time where not nearly as well rounded as they are now and the competition was not the most important thing of that era. Madrid won again in 1965, and failed in all their attempts until 1998-1999 when they beat Juventus. That is a long time to wait, United fans know all about that, 1968 to 1999. Between those two trophies Liverpool won three, Ajax won four, Bayern Munich won three, AC Milan won four, and lowly Nottingham Forest won 2. What I am getting at is 9 trophies is an unrepresented fact for the dominance of the so called Madrid giants and what some call (wrongly) the best club of all time.

So who would I say is the best European team of all time, AC Milan. I know some will be upset about this but its true. They have won a total of 7 trophies and all came spread out since the start of the competition in 1955. They won 2 in the 60's, 0 in the 70's, 1 in the 80's, 2 in the 90's, and 2 in the new millennium. They have been one of the most consistent team over the competitions history, appearing in the final 11 times. They lost in a pk shoot out to Liverpool, and extra time to goal to Real Madrid. To me it is a clear choice and for me without Madrid's complete uneven dominance in the early years can not out weigh the dominance over 60 years by one club, AC Milan. United can turn in to the dominant team of the future, especially with Milan not appearing in the Champions League, but we must adopt the same system and mentality of winning that AC Milan has (which I believe United have since Fergie came).

Madrid also have a questionable history when it comes to moral decisions. In 2000 Real Madrid where near bankruptcy and deep in dept. They rezoned their training ground and sold it to the City of Madrid. This sale, reported just bellow 500 million euros, allowed the club to buy Zidane, Beckham, Figo, and the other Galactico's and rid themselves of their debt at the same time. It also helped bring in more money with the sale of merchandise from the sports most polarizing individuals (Ronaldo, Zidane, BECKHAM, and Figo). This shady deal was investigated but I don't know much but it seems to be a slight over price. Many felt this decision was made to save Real Madrid by the city and its politicians. I can only say that this is just one case among many where Madrid have done questionable things to achieve success. We should not be surprised then when we hear what Roman Calderon said next.

Roman Calderon joked with his players the other day saying Ronaldo is on his way. He said, "Don't worry, he will be here soon." when answering a question posed by a joking Real Madrid player. I am sure he means this just as a joke but when someone is trying to buy your best player in the most unprofessional way (not listening to United's when they say he isn't for sale, talking about it to the media, playing games with Ronaldo, and playing games with United), and then joking about it all

All I know is if I was a Madrid fan, I would and should feel ashamed for the behavior of my President and head coach. I can only imagine how Madrid fans would react to AC Milan behaving in a similar matter trying to acquire Zidane at his peak. Probably not to different than how I am acting right now, I can only hope United seize business with Madrid in the future.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The New Kits and Preseason

With the new season a little over a month away, I am getting really excited about the start of the new season. I wanted to play a little catch up on my blog about the preseason lengthy schedule and the positive effects it will have on the team. I also wanted to talk about the new Away and Alternative kit for Manchester United for their coming season.

The preseason already began and I won't to let everyone know you can watch all the preseason games on MUTV online. You have to pay for it but its only 8 bucks a month for News updates, reserves games, highlights and replays, and all the preseason games live. Anyways we played Aberdeen on Saturday and walked away with a 2-0 win. Michael Carrick scored a PK after Rooney was cut down by an Aberdeen defender. Then Wayne Rooney headed home a cross from the right side of the field in the second half, placing it over the keepers head on the far side. It was a great goal and left me thinking, maybe Shrek can score 20+ this coming year. All and all i felt as Fergie did that no one really impressed but I will say Carrick and Rooney both looked good. They both had a lot of quality passes, touches, and two good goals. Carrick calmly place the PK in the bottom corner and Rooney had a great header. I hope that is a common theme throughout the rest of the season.

The preseason continues this Saturday when United kick off there preseason tour of South Africa. The first game is against Kaizer Chiefs, a power house club by South African standards. The next stop is on Tuesday 7/22 when they take on another good S. African side, the Orlando Pirates. The next game on 7/26 will have the winner of the Kaizer Chief v. Orlando Pirates game play the Red Devils. Then the following day a game against Portsmouth in Nigeria. Rio Ferdinand is looking forward to this match as he does extensive charity work in the African country. Then its a bit of a break to travel back home and then we play RSD Espanyol at Old Trafford. This game on August 2nd will be a great game for the club as it is the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer testimonial match. I think we all can agree that the Baby Faced Assassin will always be a United legend and was a true great to football. Then we play Peterborough away on the 4th of August. Finally we finish our preseason against Juventus at home on the 6th of August in what will also be the trophy presentation to the fans, will Ronaldo be there?

The lengthy preseason I think will be a great thing as it will get our large squad plenty of minutes to get everyone up to a good fitness standard before the long really tough season in front of us. We need to be able to count on our bench like we could last year and part of that is getting all of them plenty of minutes.

Some absentees will be Anderson and Dong Fanzhou as both will be representing their respected countries in the Olympics. I am really happy about this because both need more experience and what great experience to have. I hope they fair well and hope the U.S.A. can make some needed progress in the competition so I can have something to hope for.

We have new away and alternative kits for the coming year. The away kits are ugly and the alternative kit are solid blue and look good. Not sure what the idea was for the new away kits, one blog described it as looking like a Navy sailors outfight and I could not agree more.

Coward, The Ronaldo Saga Update

Ronaldo's transfer saga to Madrid continues to drag on with another Madrid player expressing some concerns of Ronaldo’s move to the Spanish capital. Wesley Snieder, has said his arrival, with an inflated salary, could cause unrest in the dressing room. Should it really matter? Should he not be happy to get the best player in the world? No he shouldn't!! Ronaldo is the best player in the world, period. He has amazing qualities that make him a complete package. He is great in the air (which he showed in the CL final), he has amazingly quick feet, great vision, amazing touch, is a great crosser, can finish close to the goal, and has one of the most dangerous free kicks in the game. But can you pay someone that amount without him actually bringing something to the team? He has done nothing to help Madrid and therefore, I believe, doesn't deserve to be paid more than there highest paid player. Which is going to be very high considering its Real Madrid.

You might be saying he deserves it cause he makes Madrid and instant contender. MADRID ALREADY ARE INSTANT CONTENDERS!!!! He would instantly help any team, but no one player can guarantee the success Madrid wants. This should be clear after the “galactico” era was so disappointing. No matter how good your team is, luck is a necessity to make it through to the Final. Barcelona played absolutely 10x better than United in the first leg of this years semi-final, which we escaped with a 0-0 result. United went into the next leg optimistic and got a good goal that was placed on Scholes foot with a bit of luck. The bottom line is you need luck to present chances, and the players to finish it. United did that and won the CL in amazing fashion, but no one can tell me we did it without luck b/c luck is the only thing that separated us and Chelsea in the PK shootout.

I believe Ronaldo does deserve a pay raise, he does deserve to equal the salaries of Ronaldinho, Kaka, and other world greats. The problem is he deserves it only at United! United owe him more money for helping the team win the EPL and CL. Real Madrid are only required to give him what he is getting now, he hasn't done anything to help Madrid, and therefore doesn't deserve to get paid more than Raul, RVN, or the other Real Madrid greats.

Ronaldo has tarnished his reputation with United fans. I began to distrust him during the 2006 World Cup fiasco, and now I just want him gone. To be honest I hope we get over 50 million pounds for him and then I don't care. I am sick of seeing him succeed at our club, a club he obviously has no respect for, and a club he doesn't deserve to play for. United reward its players from the day they come into the team. Look at Pique who didn't get many games, but has gone on record as thanking United fans for the great times, and only moved to his "dream" team. He did it in a way that we will all look back and say wish we could have kept Pique but understand his reasons. United will look at Ronaldo as the crybaby, who wanted his dreams to come true when he was in the perfect situation. We will look back at the fact RVN left United due to issues with Ronaldo (Fergie sided with Ronaldo), Keane had issues, the fact we supported him through a tough time in England after the WC, and the fact no matter what antics he tries United fan's supported him. Every weekend we sang Viva Ronaldo at the top of our lungs (me among them) and we all wanted to see him lead the Red Devils to victory.

With all this said, I have no predictions on what is going to happen. If he stays he will never fully explain himself and no matter what he says United fans will question it. If he signs a new contract and says I am a Red Devil for life we should remember what happened in the summer of '08. He threw our support in our face and trivialized it all by saying "a couple of good goals and people will be happy." I don't know much but I do know that United fans will not just turn their feelings around. He will have to do a lot more than score some good goals.

If he leaves, as the Telegraph in the U.K. is saying he will, he will leave as a villain in my mind. He has handled this like a coward; to afraid to say what he wants clearly as he continues playing games with the fans of the club that supported him in some difficult times. Madrid fans can have him, and it might help them recover their former glory, but I think we all can agree we hope he and Madrid fall flat

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

News Update

Some up to date news on the Red Devils:

United have had a bid rejected for 19-year old Chilean born rising star Alexis Sanchez. I don't know much about him besides what I read in the article on It seems United will try again with a higher bid to bring in the youngster who is seen, as a "long-term" replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo. It would be nice to keep Ronaldo for another two years and see what this kid can do then. Hopefully the transfer will work out and United can add another young star to their already growing list.

It seems Roque Santa Cruz can be taken off our transfer list as he is staying concentrated on next season with Blackburn. Obviously this could change but it does seem strange that Blackburn would let their best striker leave especially to a team so close to home. United seem more interested in Berbatov, so this comes as more of a blow to Tottenham who saw Cruz as a replacement for Berbatov who seems to be destined to Old Trafford.

Two coaches have said they are not interested in becoming Manchester United's #2. Gus Poyet, the assistant coach at Tottenham, seems intent on staying put and has a decent job at Tottenham. Tottenham are going to be a quality team, and could really push in the UEFA cup, as well as the FA and League Cup. The EPL seems to much for the club to reach but I think a top 4 finish might not be to far off if things continue to go well in the transfer market. Paulo Bento, the up and coming youn coach for Sporting Club in Portugal has said he has no intention of leaving the Portuguese giants. Seemed a strange choice for Fergie. I hope Fergie ultimately promotes someone from within. United have quality, respected coaches on the staff and would be better to stay with coaches who understand the greatness of Manchester United.

In the Ronaldo news you can add Fabio Cannavaro, Italy's captain and Madrid defender, to the list of ones who think Ronaldo should see out his contract. Seems strange a player from within would speak out against the club in anyway but good to hear some reason coming from the club, even if it is one player. I hope we learn something new this week about the Ronaldo saga that brings is closer to its end.

Berba to United? FOR HOW MUCH???

This is a bit of a follow up piece to my previous entry. Reports came out this week that Manchester United made a $56 million bid to acquire the rights to Dimitar Berbatov. United have seemed interested in Berbatov for some time and are seemingly going "all-in" to land the striker. I am all for getting Berbatov and think he would add a new depth to our attack and bring in over 20 goals for us next term. I also would like to see the transfer happen this week so Berbatov can join up with United in South Africa for their pre-season tour.

With all of that said, is he really worth that much? He is an outstanding goal scorer but does it not seem the price of players is astonishing and must be driving up the cost to watch the games on both here on TV and in the stadiums in the U.K. For instance, the rights for EPL broadcasting costs SkySports $2.6 billion. Setanta paid $785 million for the rights to Monday Night matches. (Even the BBC got the rights to replays for their sports new shows.) This amount gets divided among the teams according to how they finish in the table. Manchester United racked in nearly $30 million from television revenue alone. How does this effect us? SkySports would certainly not pay $2.6 billion unless they knew they could make it up in some way or fashion. The cost to purchase "soccer" channels in the U.S. is not cheap, to be able to watch Setanta on directv you must pay $14 dollars extra a month, and to get FoxSoccerChannel you have to pay even more for the SportsPack. The cost hits even harder for fans in the U.K. where ticket prices have been raised up to 14%. So all of this is all a part of business but it makes you wonder how much is Berbatov really worth?

United had there best financial year in history where it rose 21% from last year to over $400 million. So some of you might see this as a silly question to be asking. You might be saying this is just a small percentage. However, I would like to ask you to reconsider. Even with Manchester United having their best financial year in its history, it is nothing to be to happy about, especially since we still had a "$113.4 million net loss in the fiscal year ending last June 30." goes onto say that United owes a whopping $1.8 billion to creditors, including (and this is the important part) $109 million on players in transfer fees and other cost. So I ask again after we see that 10% of our debt is on players, is he really worth it? I am not trying to say that United are destined to debt but we should be more careful with how we spend our money. Considering even with financial gains we have one of the highest salary wages in the game, second only to Chelsea.

Getting Berbatov would be nice, but we can not afford to pay that kind of money for the player,. It would seem David Gill agrees as reports claim United will not pay that amount and seem contempt with waiting to look at all their options. This is something Fergie has always done, he plays it cool, and tries to make sure he isn't waisting the clubs money. Very few buys of that magnitude have been big busts, even the decision to buy Juan Sebastian Veron worked out the first season and he certainly didn't hurt the team in the wrong run, he however never lived up to the hype that surrounded him. If United get Berbatov I am sure it will be closer to the initial $40 million, but you could see that price rise as Tottenham seem keen to get full and above value for there striker. It still seems to me to be to pricey, Santa Cruz of Falco are looking better.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Who's It Gonna Be?

Who will United bring in? This has been the second biggest question of the summer, second to the Ronaldo saga. Numerous names have been thrown in and I will attempt to dissect the pros and cons of each player and what they will bring to the side.

Dimitar Berbatov has been linked with United since he came to the EPL. Fergie has supposedly been interested in the striker for some time and wants him at the club. Berbatov came to the EPL in 2006 and quickly made a name for him self. He seems destined to leave and has been wanting out of the club for almost a year now. He scored 26 goals last season in what could be described as a difficult season. He is a key player at Tottenham and most recently his agent has said, "Manchester United have shown interest in signing Dimitar Berbatov" but refuses to comment further. Others are speculating we will pay near $40 million for the striker. He has a large asking price, but a rather fair one. He is a quality finisher, has good vision, great touch, and can score in a variety of ways. He is good in the air and could add a much-needed dynamic to Manchester United's attack.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has recently been linked with United with he himself claiming interest and has said, "I love club's with great history like Ajax, I also love United..." The player broke on the scene in 2004 when he scored 20 goals for Heerenven. He moved to Ajax in the 2005/2006 season scoring 18 goals for his new club. Last season he scored 40 goals for Ajax in all competitions. He is a quality player who has a bright future. He will need time to adjust to the EPL but Dutch players seem to make an easier transition than players coming in from most other leagues. He has a good touch, good instincts, and is a good finisher. I believe he can come to United and play a crucial role, but there will be a slight learning curve. He hasn't proven himself on the international level, but with RVN close to retirement pay close attention to the Netherland's World Cup qualification games, as he will play a bigger role.

Sergio Leonel Aguero is a recent reported target of United according to his agent. He is
a young player with a bright future ahead of him, but I don't see this actually happening. He scored 34 goals for Atletico Madrid last season and has a lot of promise to continue to develop. His agent has said there is interest from one of the best European sides in England but not Chelsea, so it would seem he is referring to United. I have a theory it will be Liverpool, which would be ironic since Torres left Atletico for Liverpool, and Aguero has replaced him in many ways. He is a good player but not really what we need. He could become an outstanding player and would be a great purchase, however we would have to pay over $60 million for him and its not something I truly think United is considering. If he does come to United he would instantly fight for a team spot, and his game should adapt well to England's fast tempo.

Roque Santa Cruz has been linked as well with United. He is a good player who would cost less than everyone else. He current plays at Blackburn who are in a state of turmoil with the departure of their manager Mark Hughes to Manchester City. He had some decent years at Bayern Munich before making the move to Blackburn. He scored some terrific goals last year and looks to be the type of player who plays better with quality around him. He would be a good signing but not the best. I would much rather have the previous three before we even consider Cruz.

Karim Benzema has been a transfer target for United since the first played in the Champions
League this year if you believe everything in the paper. He has said he wants to leave, but his price tag is huge. He is one of the many bright talented young strikers available but is being looked at by Barcelona, Real Madrid, Arsenal, to name a few. United would have to fight off to much for this striker, a large transfer fee and the possibility to be snubbed in an already hectic off-season. There is no question this kid has talent, which was on full view when he scored a terrific goal against United in the Champions League. He scored 27 goals last year for Lyon and has been tipped to move. I am sure he will leave Lyon, but not to Manchester.

is the most surprising name to be found on the supposed United transfer target list. He is a Colombian who is being closely followed by Arsene Wenger. He plays for River Plate and has enjoyed some good seasons in Argentina. He isn’t the most prolific striker but does have the makings of one. The only reason I want to sign him is to snub Arsenal since Ramsey snubbed United for Arsenal. He is a good player and would cost less than the other transfer targets, but bad memories would arise with the player coming straight from Argentina. Diego Forlan came form Argentina, and all though a fan favorite, he had a hard time finding the back of the net. He also has been described as playing like Carlos Tevez. That’s good but we have Carlos Tevez, we don't need Tevez Jr. as well. Look for Arsenal to get this one but don’t worry to much we don’t need him.

These are some of the transfer targets United seem to be closely watching, but Fergie has a way of surprising all of us and finding those talented players. He found Ronaldo, Nani, and Anderson for good prices and all played a crucial role in last seasons success. I am sure he will find the best fit.

My best fit is Berbatov. For one simple reason, we know he can score in the EPL. He came straight into the league and helped Tottenham climb the table. He brings in aerial ability and can be a target man. This will allow Rooney or Tevez to play somewhat off of him and create more. This will especially help Rooney who is obviously more of a creator than clinical finisher. Whatever decision Fergie makes I hope he makes it soon, so the new player can join United in South Africa and get 5-6 games with United under his belt

What else can the summer bring?

This has been a difficult summer for United fans. Things are not suppose to happen like this once you've won the European Champions League, but U.S. fans should know better. We have plenty of experience with what happens when teams win the big game, the players' egos grow and grow, and more money is a must.

Take the New York footballing Giants. They go on a 10 game-road winning streak to reach the Super Bowl and cause the biggest upset in NFL history. Tyree catches a pass that might go down as the best play in Super Bowl history and the team no one picked to win comes away with the ring. A great game to end a great NFL season, but what followed? The players' egos grew. As they should have. When you win a game like that, and reach the summit of your profession it is understandable you would fill self-assured and confident in your ability. This feeling leads to the inevitable "I want what I deserve," at least one player will ask for a new contract and bring some off-season controversy to the newly crowned champions. Plaxico has asked for more money, and now he says he will sit out until his contract shines as much as his Super Bowl ring. M. Strahan retires and leaves the best defensive line in football possibly crippled, and not to mention some key defenders move on to new teams for bigger contracts. This happens in every sport in America during every off-season, so why am I so shocked about Manchester United's summer?

The simple answer, I have never seen this in soccer. Yes there are always transfers in the summer and United will always be involved. However, you never saw the big players at the big clubs ask out when they are playing on a regular basis, for a championship winning team. You didn't see Zidane wanting out of Madrid after they won the Champions League, did you?

What has shocked me the most is obviously Ronaldo. This to me is like Eli Manning, Kevin Garnett, or Big Papi wanting out after winning their respective championship. Ronaldo continues to dumbfound me week in and week out. His comments during the Euros that gave United fans hope and at the same time took it all away. His family members saying he wants to stay, his friends and coaches saying he wants to leave. He, himself, admitting it would be a dream to play for Madrid but never simply saying, "I want to leave United and go to Madrid." Then having other people chime in and give their opinion on the matter. Lets go through the list.

Sepp Blatter opened his big mouth last week and claimed modern footballers, like Ronaldo, are being treated like slaves. Which I won't go into the ridiculous nature of his comments as others have taken care of that already. However, I will say this, when you're the President of FIFA who deals with impoverished countries who have serious issues with slavery and child labor, it seems slightly irresponsible to claim a player making over $100,000 a-WEEK to play soccer for a living, and subsequently can have virtually anything he wants is a slave.

Michel Platini, the UEFA president, said United should forget that they are in the right and let Ronaldo do what he wants. If Madrid wants him and they have the money, they should get him. His comments are ridiculous enough but what I can't understand is WHY IS HE SHARING HIS VIEW?

We don't see Roger Goodell, David Stern, or even Bud Selig sharing their views about trades or free agent signings. It is none of their business
and if they did share their views, the media and team ownership would crucify said commissioners and they would be out of a job. I remember when Bud Selig was gaining controversy for not showing Barry Bond's more support in his home run record chase, and almost everyone hates Barry Bonds. But it would seem Platini and Blatter have different standards.

These two men sum up the idiot comments that others have made but luckily some people can see things clearly. Pele has come out and said if Ronaldo signed a contract, tough beans he signed a contract and modern footballers don't = slaves. Harry Redknapp and Steve Bruce have come out and said the comments Blatter made are wrong. And the PFA chairmen has even come out in opposition to Blatter and called his comment irresponsible.

This summer is like any other sporting off-season. Turmoil and indecision as players try and get more money or move to a new club. Whether Ronaldo stays or goes obviously hasn't been decided, if a decision had been made Fergie would not be making comments to make him look stupid once the transfer goes through. No matter what occurs United will live on and will continue to be the greatest club in the world. United still have a strong team with or without Ronaldo, and I am sure Fergie will replace Ronaldo - if need be - and create a new system that is as effective as last years, maybe more so.

In other summer news:
  • Fletcher says he wants to stay at United even with a good Everton squad chasing his signature.
  • Manucho is reportedly injured and could be out all pre-season. I hope this kid gets his chance because he could become scary good. I realize he is already 25 but he is good in the air, good touch, and great speed. If he could break into the first 11, United could be scary good, like they were last year.
  • The biggest hit so far to United is Carlos Queiroz leaving to go coach Portugal. He was a great manager and helped this team in ways behind the scenes. He ran every training session and became a father figure to the younger players. He helped secure the signature of Anderson, Nani, and Manucho and was a key part to last year's success. No one blames him for wanting to coach his country and I hope he can do well. Maybe if he does well and Fergie last to the summer of 2010, then we could see Queiroz come back after a successful World Cup campaign with Portugal. He had some great words for Fergie, you can read them in this article.

A lot of questions remain to be answered:

  • Who will replace Queiroz as United's number 2? I hope for Keano but I think he is happy at Sunderland.
  • Will Fergie be forced to buy a striker, now that Manucho might be out all pre-season? I believe he will sign a new striker but not because of Manucho.
  • What will happen with Ronaldo? I believe he will leave, and it will be a good thing in the long run. I was worried we got close to becoming a one man team near the end of last year and if he does go I am sure we will replace him the best we can and bring others in to score the missing 42 goals.

Make sure to tune in to all the pre-season games on MUTV online and just remember that United We'll NEVER DIE!!!